This Crockpot BBQ chicken recipe has tender pulled chicken that's coated in a delicious sweet and smoky BBQ sauce. It's quick to prepare in just 10 minutes and makes the best sandwiches!
You might also like my Easy Sloppy Joe Recipe.
Why you'll crave it
Slow cooker BBQ chicken is tasty any time of year, but using your Crockpot in warmer months is great because it doesn't heat up your kitchen and is easy and hands-off to make. Enjoy those classic smoky BBQ flavors even if you don't own a BBQ!
Our kitchen loves making fall-apart tender pulled chicken sandwiches and eating them out on the deck or in the backyard. There's nothing much better than pairing pulled chicken with cool, creamy coleslaw and a toasted bun! Another bonus is that the leftovers are freezer friendly.
What you'll need and why
- Chicken breasts - we're using 4 boneless/skinless for our shredded chicken
- BBQ sauce - I used Heinz Kansas City BBQ sauce. It's sweet and smoky and quite thick in consistency, but use your favorite or what you've got in stock. If you're not a fan of a sweeter flavor, I wouldn't use a Kansas-style BBQ sauce.
- Onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder - my signature seasoning mix to infuse so much savory taste
- Worcestershire sauce - it's one of my not-so-secret ingredients to enhance the umami flavor of sauces. I wouldn't skip it if I were you!
- Brown sugar - to balance it all out with a hint of sweetness and caramelization and to thicken up the sauce a bit
How to make Crockpot BBQ chicken
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
To a bowl, add the BBQ sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Mix it together thoroughly.
Place the chicken breasts in your Crockpot, and then pour the sauce over the chicken. Coat the chicken in the sauce fully. I use tongs to make it easier. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours, and then shred the chicken with two forks. That's it!
Substitutions and variations
- While we prefer chicken breasts, you can definitely use chicken thighs instead.
- Add a drop or two of liquid smoke for an even richer, deeper smoky flavor.
- Or add in some cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or hot sauce if you want the chicken to have some kick to it.
What to serve with it
- Try serving it on a sesame or brioche bun with some homemade coleslaw and some pickle slices.
- Want an extra crunch? Throw in some potato chips right into the sandwich for a fun twist!
- My Easy Macaroni Salad and some Cajun Grilled Corn on the Cob would go great on the side.
- If you're making this for a potluck, don't forget to bring along a batch of Classic Deviled Eggs.
Leftovers and storage
- BBQ pulled chicken leftovers will last for 3-5 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- It will also keep well in the freezer. This can be frozen for up to 3 months, and I recommend storing portions in individual containers so that you can make up new sandwiches anytime you're craving one!
- One of my go-to ways to use up leftovers is making lettuce wraps if I've run out of buns.
I hope you'll love these addictive BBQ chicken sandwiches! Questions? Let me know in the comments below.
Crockpot BBQ Chicken
- 2 pounds chicken breasts (about 4 large) boneless skinless
- 1.5 cups BBQ sauce use your favorite
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- For serving: buns, coleslaw, etc.
- Place the chicken breasts in your slow cooker.
- Add everything except for the chicken to a bowl and stir it together until smooth.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and toss so it's well coated. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours (I do 3.5 hours) or on low for 6-7 hours.
- Shred the chicken right in the slow cooker using two forks, then stir it so it's coated in the sauce. If needed, and some salt & pepper prior to serving.
- Makes enough for about 6-8 sandwiches (or fewer if you really stuff them).
- Shred the chicken as small or coarse as you prefer.
- You may sub the chicken breasts for chicken thighs.
- I own this Crockpot.
- Here's the Instant Pot version of the recipe.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.